Wyze Gyal is a new queer dance party taking place on Saturday June 18th.
Here, the East side collective speaks about their influences and intentions.
How did the idea of Wyze Gyal take shape?
At a bi-weekly get together in the winter, to help us east-enders avoid winter isolation, by making fun of white, cis-dude sports bars... Being ‘young’ (haha, are we actually that young?), racialized queers in the east end (Riverdale and Leslieville specifically), we noticed a severe lack of spaces in our neighbourhoods where we felt comfortable going out and could have a good time. There are some gay spaces in Leslieville and Riverdale, but they are primarily white, have way more money than us and are a generation older.
Also, the depoliticization of gay spaces in the east end of Toronto is really apparently, coming from the West end Queer scene where there is a lot more consciousness around parties organizing and social spaces. We are hoping to bring that to Wayla through hosting Wyze Gyal.
We wanted to create and cultivate a space where queer and trans people of colour living in the east end could come and socialize on a Saturday night. The east-end can feel isolating at times so we’re thrilled to be creating something that celebrates the breadth of diversity in our neighbourhood.
What kind of spaces, discussions, or opportunities do you want to create with this party?
Places where people don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re ‘cool’ enough (not that we’re necessarily going to succeed in fully achieving this, but this is one of the goals). Trying to avoid recreating the shit structures, systems and hierarchies that made us feel unwelcome in spaces in the first place (again, we are not gonna fully succeed in acheiving this, but it’s a goal)- A space to dance and have fun and meet people. It's also important to acknowledge that we are certainly not the first to be doing something like this- there are so many groups, collectives, etc. doing awesome work- we're just hoping to build on and with some of that.
I think having that is really important to highlight that we are hoping to provide space where the organizers also reflect the music that get played (Soca, Calypso, Chutney, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Rap, Afro House, etc.) at many of typical gay events where the organizers and DJs are predominantly male, white, and have class privilege or have a lot more access to resources such as expensive equipment.
What are some inspirations, musical or otherwise?
Artists who are creating new realities, radical imaginings of what is possible, particularly for black and racialized peoples
And trans people!
It’s a polyamorous union between Kreuzberg, Rexdale and Port of Spain.
The fact that this takes place on the east end feels pretty intentional - why is that?
I think it is also important to look back and acknowledge that Riverdale & Leslieville were pre-dominantly racialized neighbours and that gentrification has impacted these neighbourhoods in specific ways by displacing us [racialized and racialized queer people] as well as making us invisible or hyper-visible when we do navigate these spaces.
What kind of things tie you together as a DJ collective?
I think that most people, including ourselves, like more than one genre of music, and likely want to hear those different genres when they go out. I think the idea that a night should be pigeon-holed into playing only one genre of music is easier for, like, marketing purposes but it’s not really realistic. We play a range of music not only between DJs, but within DJs- we all have a wide range of tastes. I would say our common goals of creating spaces for QuTie POC people to have fun? And that we all play danceable music?
A love for music, community and breaking a sweat.
What's your current song of the summer?
‘One Dance’ by Drake, cuz it sounds pretty and ‘Lost in the Sauce’ by Brassfoot cuz it’s weird... and I like weird.
“Cheap Thrills” by Sia ft Sean Paul. Sia originally wrote this sound for Rihanna but recognized it was so Brit Pop also the video’s backdrop of the classical 50s dance filled with White people dancing to a song that has features a Dancehall artist.
Wyze Gyal is at Wayla Bar on 996 Queen Street East on Saturday, June 18th. Facebook event here!